Family Formation and Military Service among a Contemporary Cohort of Americans

Naomi J. Spence, Lehman College, City University of New York (CUNY)

This paper uses contractual data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health (Add Health) to explore family formation differences among young adults who have served in the US military and those without military experience. Preliminary results indicate that military service personnel are more likely to be married, and among those ever married, to have a younger age at first marriage compared to those who did not join the military. These findings persist net of age, gender, race/ethnicity, and education. Those who have served in the military appear more likely than their non-military counterparts to have at least one child after sociodemographics are controlled, but no reliable differences between military and non-military young adults are found in age at first birth. Further analyses will disentangle the timing of military service relative to marriage and childbearing to address questions of differential enlistment versus differential family formation patterns.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Poster Session 3